Wieden+Kennedy Headquarters / Allied Works Architecture

Courtesy of

The site for this project was within an abandoned warehouse that fills a city block. This allowed the Wieden+Kennedy advertising agency to occupy a single building for the first time in many years. The original 1908 building formed a solid, five-story masonry mass with little light – a perforated box filled with a gridwork of heavy timber and quartered by cruciform masonry walls.

Project description, images, and drawings after the break.

Architect: Allied Works Architecture
Location: 224 NW 13th Avenue, Portland, Oregon,
Project Team: Brad Cloepfil, Kyle Lommen, John Weil, Chris Bixby, Paul Kinley, Jeff Lee, Jake Freauff, Lorraine Guthrie, Brian Malady
Client: Wieden+Kennedy
Photographs: Courtesy of Allied Works Architecture

Courtesy of Allied Works Architecture

The first act of architecture was one of distinction: preserving and restoring the historic warehouse. Against this neutral ground of workspace, a five-story concrete building rises within the cleared center of the block. This new construction concentrates seismic forces, daylight, and collective activity into a single room—a building of pure space, not form; with no elevations, no distant views, no front or back—it is embedded architecture.

Courtesy of Allied Works Architecture

Emerging from the street you arrive deep within the building in a space filled with light, activity, and energy. The heart of the city block has been taken apart and reassembled to accommodate concerts and events amid the hum of the workplace. A building that appears divided by the juxtaposition of old and new, by the layering of light and structure, it is woven together again by two totemic columns holding walkways that radiate through the center space. From above, light filters into the heart of the space, reflected and diffused by the timber structure of the enclosing penthouse.

Courtesy of Allied Works Architecture
Courtesy of Allied Works Architecture

The building is one of inversion, continually collapsing upon itself, from exterior to interior and exterior again, from public to private then public once more. At its center is a single room, a transparent mass that seems to expand infinitely beyond its concrete boundaries.

Courtesy of Allied Works Architecture

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Wieden+Kennedy Headquarters / Allied Works Architecture" 09 Mar 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=117164>
  • Mr. Cheap

    I’d say this is the single most beautiful project I have ever seen on Archdaily.

    The construction, material use, clearity in space, challenging typology, consious use of light and well drawn plans.

    Bookmarked like hell!

  • scott magic

    Agreed, this is one of the best buildings in America. Portland’s lucky to have this gem.

    Props to Brad and his team for an impeccable job!

  • Mr. Expensive

    single most beautiful project on archdaily?!
    one of the best buildings in america?!

    a fantastic project indeed, but these superlatives are a bit much. as far as i can tell, the intervention isn’t even visible from the street, correct?

  • alechs

    This is so west-coast. I love the materials and the overhead photo of the atrium is so startling because of its spatial and graphic presence. There is a Terragni-vibe to the concrete structure but wood offsets the coldness.

  • AaronA

    Put a bird on it!

  • simon

    I second that one ^

  • case

    so much architecture today comes with ideas about form. but not so much of it is replete with ideas about how you make space. of course, everything is spatial. but this project has clear ideas about how to make space.